11-15-2001

title: dreams of fire
series: echoing dream
autor: raven pyralis (raven @ steelsong.com / darakuCUBE @ hotmail.com)
rating: nc17 'n stuff
category/warnings: lemon/lime, yaoi, permanent mangling of pilots, people being real people... or at least what i'd like them to be, sap, retardedness on the part of the writer, other stuff. just read the damn thing already.
disclaimer: please let me play with the pretty boys? i'll return them in relatively mint condition. they might have a few bumps and bruises, and they might be hopelessly attracted to each other when i'm done. but who says that's a bad thing?
note: this whole thing was a dream. remind me to eat at KFC more often. this is also a bribe... i'm hoping that a few people will like this *cough coughcoughSTEELJANAOTHERPEOPLECOUGHCOUGHCOUGH* will like this... and therefore WRITE MORE. oh... and sparkle, i demand more of mushroom child. i wrote something, that was the deal that we made... what? two years ago? something like that. MORE I SAY! *kiss* i love you sparkle ^^;
other: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HOHOHOHOHOHOHO. ha. read.

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"... Christ...!" Duo's voice crackled over the intercom, followed by an explosion. "Shit," was the only thing the four boys heard before the com went dead. Static followed, monotonous and unhelpful.

"Duo?" Quatre nearly yelled into the intercom. If Duo had responded he couldn't hear it. The OZ weapons warehouse was falling apart around them. "Everyone out!" He ordered, voice stern and commanding. Everyone listened to Quatre when he got like this.

Duo's intercom crackled on briefly, "Be right... Gotta blow this... See.."

Quatre sucked in a breath. How was he gonna tell Duo that they had to go now? The warehouse wasn't going to stand for more then three minutes tops.

***

Dead. "Shit... Damn piece of crap." Duo said, splaying his fingers across the surface of his sensor screen. The visuals were all fuzzy, and his heat and motion sensors were all off. It couldn't be that hot outside the cockpit.. Unless... "Shit again."

***

"Heero?" Wufei gave him a funny look as Heero sped his Gundam in the direction of his sometimes lover. Duo was obviously having troubles, and it was up to Heero to save him. In his Gundam's bird-like mode it would be easy to carry Duo away from the space warehouse.

"Don't wait up," He said simply, wishing 'Fei would just leave the situation alone. He sped off into the darkness of the failing station, hoping beyond hope that Duo was still in easily re-attachable pieces.

It didn't take long to find Shinigami. He was braced against a wall of twisted metal, glowing with heat. Heero could see parts of Shinigami glowing the same dull cherry as the wall. He had very little time

***

Duo shrieked and cursed as the controls started to smoke. He pulled his hands away and looked at them in horror. They were turning red and the skin looked wet. Sweat ran down his chest and forehead, soaking into his flight-suit. "I'm gonna fucking die here.." He said in wonder. On his fuzzy screen he saw flames licking up around his Gundam. He could feel the heat all around him, thick and deadly.

"Oh goddamnit. No fucking fire is gonna kill me." He said aloud, as if it could give him some extra strength. He grabbed the over heated controls and wrenched them around. Shinigami gave a great, groaning jerk and lumbered into motion. He could hear the stressed machinery groaning and sticking where it had started to melt together.

His hands screamed in protest. He could feel the nerves burning. But he couldn't let go. He wasn't ready to burn in hell quite yet.

The frayed straps of his harness bit into his skin as he leaned forward, fighting the immense pain that shot up his arms, beginning at his seared palms.

Shinigami's legs stuck, sending the huge machine towards the burning floor of the station. Duo's overstressed harness snapped, and he smashed head first into the screen. He saw nothing more.

***

Shinigami halted for a split second before tumbling to the ground with a terrible crash that shook the whole station. He didn't get back up.

"Duo??" Heero nearly yelled into his connection to Duo's Gundam. He got only static.

He had to move fast... His Gundam wasn't going to last forever in this inferno. He scooped up Shinigami and kicked down the melting wall.

***

Duo fluttered from drugged sleep to wakefulness and back again. He saw little, and registered less. There were tubes, and bags, and things that went 'beep'. The sheets crinkled when he moved. He could only be in a hospital.

His sleep was fitful, and full of fire and morphed steel. Sometimes he burned, sometimes his friends. Sometimes it was Maxwell church in front of him, burning away... lives going up in flames. Always fire.

Eventually he woke, and stayed conscious. Wufei was sitting with him, looking occasionally at the small heart monitor. When he noticed that Duo was awake his eyes went wide and he ran out of the room and shouted something to someone.

Suddenly his small room was overflowing with people. Heero was there, and Quatre. Trowa wasn't though... But he could hear Quatre talking to someone. He suddenly noticed that he had forgotten to turn his head. He tried to move his head, to look around... And was rewarded with a wave of nausea and pain. Moving his head was a Bad Idea.

He tried to speak, and started coughing. One of the doctors pulled a long tube from his throat that he hadn't noticed till now. He coughed a few more times, his throat raw and sore.

"Duo? Duo can you hear me?" Quatre said softly, close to his head. He could see the top of the blond's head as he bent down to examine his hand.

"Quat?" He whispered hoarsely. It must have been forever since he'd said anything.

"Duo!" Quatre said, tears filling up his pretty eyes. His shoulders bunched, as if he was restraining himself from lunging at Duo.

"Water.." He choked out. Someone pressed a cool cup to his cracked lips. He drank a little before motioning the cup away. "How long?" He asked, his voice not cracking quite as much.

"Six days, Duo." Trowa said off to his right.

Duo groaned and tried to bring his hand to cover his eyes. But his hand wouldn't move. He made a small sound of distress.

"You kept moving in your sleep. They strapped your arms down to keep you from taking the tubes out, or hurting your hands on something. Duo.. your hands were black when we brought you in." He choked on a sob. Poor, sweet Quatre. He worried so much. Duo loved him for it.

Heero took up the narrative. "Now that you're awake. We can undo the straps." And with that, the straps came off. One of the docs looked a little less than happy, but with Heero standing protectively over Duo, there was nothing to be done about it.

"They aren't sure if there will be any permanent damage to your brain. They don't think so. You didn't hit your head that hard." He reached down and gently brushed Duo's bangs away from his face. Duo favored him with a small, private smile. Heero was so cute without even knowing it.

***

Duo looked like hell. His face was bruised where it had come in contact with the screen. There was an angry red cut on his forehead, and dusky bruises under his eyes. The swelling had all gone down, and his jagged bangs hid the worst. The scar on his forehead would fade with time. Eventually it would just be a thin white line that didn't tan as well as the rest of his skin.

He had cracked a few ribs as well, but they were on their way to being healed. They would bother him for a while, but heal just fine.

His hands though. He had burned them so badly that the skin had become crisp and black. He would always have scars. The ribs of his controls would be branded into his palms for the rest of his life.

But nothing could spoil his beauty. It just made him look battle scared.

It turned Heero on. And it made him feel sick.

There he was, standing over his broken lover... And thinking about how sexy his scars were. He grabbed the nearest chair and sat down heavily. Duo deserved better.

Heero took one of those beautiful scarred hands in his and brought it to his lips. He kissed the bandaged palm, forgetting for a moment that the room was full of people. People that were all looking at him as if he had grown an extra head.

All but Quatre, Trowa and 'Fei.

'Fei understood. He and Duo had had a... Thing... For a while. and Q and T were Together. Much more Together then he and Duo. But they were the only ones that mattered. The doctors and nurses were just people, people who they would never see again. They weren't important.

Duo was important. And he had to understand that. He wasn't going to be happy when he saw his hands for the first time. People far more stable then Duo had killed themselves over less.

But as soon as the thought entered his head, Heero rejected it. Duo was far stronger then that. And while he took fierce pride in his appearance, his hands wouldn't matter that much. they would heal, and the scar tissue would only be on his palms.

No, Duo had lived through much worse. He would live through this. And Heero was going to make sure he did.

And judging by the looks the others were giving Duo, they were going to help.

***

Duo was feeling a thousand times better. His head no longer throbbed when he moved it. His hands still pained him, but he imagined they would for quite some time. He had seen them for the first time when the nurse came in to change the bandages when he woke up. She had been gentle and kind, but he would have felt better if it had been Heero. It would have been easier to deal with his scarred hands. And the idea that they would be like that forever.

His poor hands. But such was the price of war. He was still alive. He still had both his arms and legs. Both his eyes. And the scar on his forehead would heal, and be barely noticeable. The stitches would come out soon.

Later, Heero had taken both his scarred hands in his own and lightly rubbed the palms with his thumbs. Telling Duo the whole time that it didn't matter. That he was still beautiful.

In that moment, Duo had realized that he loved his Perfect Soldier. He couldn't admit it yet, but he really loved Heero. Maybe one day Heero would love him back.

One of the docs walked in with a clip board. Duo sat up a little straighter waiting to hear what he had to say.

"Well Mr. Maxwell, your head has healed completely. You've got all your motor coordination, your speech and memory are fine. Your ribs are nearly healed, and the stitches in your forehead should come out in a few days."

He glanced at Duo's hands, "I don't see any reason why you can't go home and let your... Family take care of you." Duo heard the hesitation when the doc said 'family'. He knew how odd that must seem. 'Fei was Chinese, Heero Japanese, and the others were hard to place. They were a rag tag bunch, to be sure. But they were family none the less. And anyone who said otherwise would have a gun and a sword pulled on them.

Duo nodded, he'd been waiting for this. He desperately wanted to go back to the safehouse. Whichever safehouse that was. It didn't matter. Home wasn't a place, it was the people there.

"Now, you should be very careful with your hands. Don't lift anything. You can eat by yourself, and do normal things... But nothing heavy. And if something hurts, then stop doing it. All right?" The doc turned a stern gaze at Duo. He knew he couldn't get away with anything around this guy.

"Yes sir." He said obediently. He wasn't about to hurt himself trying to be a hero anyway.

"I took the liberty of calling your friends. One of them should be here to get you within the hour. It was a pleasure meeting you, even though the circumstances weren't the best." The doc favored the young pilot with a genuine smile before leaving with a swish of his long lab coat.

Duo leaned back and smiled to himself. Home. Finally.

God he hated hospitals. He'd become intimately acquainted with hospitals too many times to count. They were a place of Sickness and Death. He saw enough of that on the battle field. And there was always the chance that some of the people were there because he put them there. He couldn't bear the thought.

Heero arrived quickly. Only about fifteen minutes after the doctor had called.

"Ready?" He asked.

"I've been ready. Heero, take me home."

***

Two days... Two loooong fucking days.

I wasn't allowed to get up without someone to help me. I wasn't allowed to walk down the fucking stairs. I couldn't even go to the bathroom without an escort. I'm surprised Heero didn't ask if he could help me piss.

"Duo?" He called. As much as i love him, his voice was starting to grate on my nerves.

"Yeah, yeah. What?" I shot back, irritated.

"Dinner." Heero said simply, unfazed by my angry tone. He opened the door and peeked in. I dunno why. He'd seen me in various states of undress over the past year multiple times. And since I had come home (two loooo~ng days) he'd helped me dress, helped me undress... helped me bathe. Everything. He had no need of false modesty, and neither did I. But what could I say?

There was one thing I couldn't complain about though. He had taken in upon himself make sure I felt as good as possible. And Heero knows his shit. Lets just say the pain was nothing compared to his Perfect mouth.

"Be there in a minute." I was about to say 'coming', but I would have started laughing... And that would have started a coughing fit. In turn brining Heero running into my room, causing me to explain why I was killing myself laughing. And that just wouldn't do. If I told him, we would never get to dinner.

"All right." I said clearly, trying to sound sober and serious. Heero opened the door all the way and offered me his arm. I took it without a word. I secretly enjoyed the pampering, on a level. Just as long as he didn't give me cutesy little pet names or anything.

I wouldn't have minded something like Kittyfuck[1] though. I got the occasional Koi out of him too. Yes, I'm a fish. But that's neither here nor there.

"What's for dinner?"

"I dunno. Quat's cooking." He helped me negotiate the stairs, making sure my hands didn't touch anything. I could do normal things without too much pain, but there was no stopping Heero from trying to make it all better.

I could smell the food. Quatre could cook. Dunno who taught him. Probably one of the millions of sisters and servants. Talk about extended family. That boy had enough relatives to make up for all the ones Heero, Tro, 'Fei and I had lost.

***

Dinner had been normal, wonderfully, blessedly Normal. Normal with a capital fucking 'N'.

Well, if you could conveniently forget that my ribs were still sore, my hands still felt like they were on fire, and my forehead throbbed and stung in intervals.

Ah, war.

Heero, 'Fei and I were lounging on the couch watching some old movie. It had that sexy guy who played the first Batman.. Damned if I can't remember his name. It's sad that all the guns shoot through schools now[2].

Wu had my feet, and was unconsciously rubbing them, while trying not to be amused by the movie. It was seriously funny. There wasn't a moment that you weren't trying not to pee yourself. But poor Wu just had to maintain that cool I-care-not attitude.

Heero kept shooting annoyed looks at Wufei, not having to feign his lack of amusement. He had always been wary of the Chinese boy, and they seemed to have a more then healthy rivalry going. Wu and I had had a... Thing. It had been a nice Thing. Gentle and rough at the same time, quiet. But we had ended up more brotherly then anything else. Oh sure, I still had the most lovely wet dreams about him, but I loved Heero. There was no two ways about it.

I snuggled up to Heero. His lap was suspiciously hot. The boy got horny all the time. For the weirdest things. I guess having such a suppressed childhood was wreaking havoc on his hormones. I couldn't complain though.

I smirked to myself and nudged at Heero's lap with my shoulder. He looked down at me, startled but obviously up to the challenge of keeping quite and stone faced.

I checked on Wufei, noting his absorbment in the movie. He was still rubbing my foot. I was always restless, and so bony that getting comfortable on people was difficult. Heero had his fare share of pointy bones too. So shifting a lot wouldn't be a problem. I already had a plan to hide the inevitable wet spot on Heero's pants.

I moved my shoulder in just the right place, watching one of those Perfect eyelids twitch over one of those Perfect cobalt eyes. I moved my arm up over my head, sticking my elbow straight up in the air and resting my hand on the bulge in Heero's lap.

I squeezed as hard as that position would allow, and Heero twitched again. It was lovely. He was so hard it must have hurt. He could match me for kinkiness, and he was a bit of an exhibitionist. Sex in public. Just grab the lube and head on over to the park.

I palmed the length of his erection, pressing hardest at the tip. Heero disguised his pleasure in a small chuckle at the antics of the actors. Suffice to say that we were damn good at this kinda stuff.

A few more passes and Heero's cock twitched under the heel of my palm. I moved slightly to avoid getting sticky as Heero came under my hand. Hard.

To his credit, his only betrayal of our actions was a slightly strained laugh and a sharp intake of breath. Once I was all better I would have to reward him for that.

"Maa, Heero?" I said, bringing him out of his postorgasmic haze.

"Yeah?"

"Bedtime. Sleepy." I blinked kittenishly at him. He could never resist the kittyness. "Carry me?"

He raised an eyebrow at me, but I think it was more that he was startled at my foresight than anything else.

We got up to bed without mishap, and he changed into less... Wet clothes. He helped me undress and put on an oversized shirt that was perfect for sleeping in. My blood red boxers stayed on.

Heero picked a blue wife beater and those weird tight, stretchy boxers made of elastic-like cotton. I have no idea what you call them. He looked good though. He looked damn good.

We snuggled down, my head on his chest, his arm around me, one of my legs thrown over his. It was too warm for the blanket, but just cool enough to cuddle comfortably.

I shifted around till my ribs were comfortable enough for me to sleep as Heero ran his hand along my braid in a reassuring, comforting manner. Night was our time. We filled the silence with sounds of contentment, and soft sighs of happyness. I love the night.

I must have fallen asleep first, because the last thing I remember was Heero still stroking my braid.

We woke at the same moment, to the shrill beeping of Heero's little Satan laptop. It was a handy little machine, but damn did it pick the wrong times to start screeching.

Heero sorted out our limbs, making sure he didn't take any of mine with him when he got up and padded silently over to his computer. He woke it up with the press of a key and logged on.

His face grew cold as he read the email. It was short and to the point, but its precision and simplicity didn't impress him.

"Solo mission." I said, without having to ask the question. There was nothing else that made him look like that.

He nodded, needlessly. "Tonight. J is testing me, to see how fast I can prepare." Heero narrowed his eyes as he typed his response. The encoded email to 'Pop' would get to J immediately from 'greenboy01@japan.co.jp'.

Heero turned to the dresser and started dressing in jeans and his favorite green tank top. He has the greatest arms.

"What are the mission specs?" I asked innocently. He would have told me anyway, but the question needed to be asked.

"An assassination. Of one of the Romafeller board members." He said quietly refusing to look me directly in the eyes.

"A solo assassination? What the HELL is that scientist of yours thinking?? You can't got on a SOLO assassination! Take me with you. J never has to know." I fumed at him, ready to leap off the bed if need be.

"Yes. I can. You aren't going with me. If you try to follow me, I'll have the others shoot you down. They'd do it too, you know they would. They're all accurate enough to damage Shinigami without hurting you." He stared me full in the face now, his eyes alight with resolve. He would do it, and I knew that the others would go along with it. At times, there is such a thing as caring too much. At least if you ask me.

"And besides," He continued stonily, "Shinigami's still being repaired. You of all people should know that he's not fit for anything right now. And neither are you." He finished with a glare, slightly softened by affection.

I sighed and looked at the floor. He had me beat. For now. I would find a way to get back at him for this. Oh yes I would.

"You win Heero. But only for now. If you don't come back I'll blow up Shinigami with me inside it. Got that?" I narrowed angry eyes at him. I hate being left behind. It's worse then throwing up, and that's saying a lot.

Heero nodded. I'm sure he was expecting something like that. I may be reckless, but I'm not stupid. "Deal." With that he stumbled towards me and kneeled between my legs. I was still sitting on the bed, so his face was level with the hands resting in my lap. He took both those scarred hands in his and kissed each palm, and then the backs. He rose, kissed me quickly and scooped me up in his arms.

"You're going to spend the day downstairs with Quat and Chang. Got it?"

I gave him a weak smile, hoping to look innocent and trustworthy. I think it almost worked.

"They will keep you here." He said again, with more conviction. There was nothing I could do. I was stuck there.

"And like I said, if you die, then I'm following you."

I stayed on the couch most of the day. Drifting from living room to kitchen and back again. I sat outside on the porch and read a book for a while. Lovely book. Old. About Seven Kingdoms and Dragon Knights. About a princess across the sea, and her dragons. It made me want to write. But that's not something I do.

I watched Wufei do his afternoon kata. I watched Tro and Quat putz around in the kitchen, fussing over what to make for lunch. They were acting like an old married couple. It was adorable.

I drifted into the kitchen and offered some suggestions for food. We settled on pizza from this awesome little joint in town. Quatre and I got a pizza with extra cheese, onions and green peppers, Tro and Wufei got lots and lots of meat. Meat is good, but green peppers and onions are better.

I napped on the couch while we waited for Wufei to get back with the pizzas.

I hadn't seen much of Heero all day. He had been more then busy packing all his supplies, his equipment, checking on Wing. Every time he came by he would press a kiss to my fingertips, or give me a tiny private smile. It warmed me, and filled me with dread at the same time. I could lose him. Before I even told him I love him.

But I couldn't say it. It was too new, too painful. And if he died, it would hurt that much more.

He ate two pieces of pizza before giving me a kiss that tasted of meat and finality, and saying his farewells to everyone. We always said a final farewell, because there was always the chance that we would never get to say a real goodbye before we died. It had become a ritual.

And then he was out into the underground hanger, opening the huge garage door to reveal the starlit sky above. A few creeks and groans as his Gundam powered up, a weapons and fuel check... And then he was gone.

I wandered around in half a daze for a while. I kept telling myself that he would come back.

//Why the fuck did you have to fall in love with a soldier? Why did you have to fall in love at all??// The small voice that was Shinigami railed at me. I knew Shinigami was right. It was beyond stupid of me to fall in love. And with Heero of all people. Heero was the Perfect Soldier. He had tried to kill himself a number of times for the mission. What if he was caught? Spies and assassins are expected to terminate themselves if they're caught. Heero knew it well, as did the rest of us.

Where would I be then? I had told my lover that I wouldn't live much longer after his death. But my conscience would keep me from dying before the war was over. I was fighting for a reason, for a dream... I had to live at least long enough to finish it.

But could I do that without Heero?

I smacked myself. I was being a moron. I knew damn well that he could do whatever needed to be done. I would sell myself if I knew it would end the war. Or even if I thought it might end the war. I was just getting too caught up in being a good boyfriend.

I stomped up to my shared bedroom and put on the loudest, angriest music I could find. It helped. I felt much better, much stronger. And Shinigami stopped whispering that I was a moron. In that moment of anger and music Shinigami and I were one.

It was said that music could do a lot of things to you. Some even thought that music was magical. I believed that to a point. It had powers over the emotions. I needed the anger to fill the space that Heero's presence usually took up.

It would work for a while, but how long. Would I become a dependant wimp when the CD ended? I shook my head. //No. I'm me, and I can only depend on me. Shinigami will take over if my body falters.//

Shinigami could ignore the pain, the blood. Shinigami could do what needed to be done, even if my body was broken and bleeding from a thousand wounds.

I knew the job would get done. No matter what.

So I listened to my music and tried not to think of Heero dying in pain and loneliness.

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[1] Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back reference. Mwaha. I'm gonna get called that by my friends *sighs* =_=
[2] Johnny Dangerously reference. Best Movie Ever. A story of love, life and growing up, as all things are. Rent it, love it, live it. I command you.

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End Dreams of Fire
Echoing Dream tbc...